Locust Jones, Juanita Nielson Community Centre, Sydney
In collaboration with Dominik Mersch Gallery, Creative Road worked with artist Locust Jones on this unique project, the first textile public artwork commissioned by the City of Sydney.
Drawing upon aesthetics present in Locust Jones’ professional practice the artwork concept was to produce a hand painted linen curtain to cover a mirror when not in use. Imagery for the curtain was inspired by a series of artist-led collaborative drawing workshops as well as historical narratives including the centre’s namesake Juanita Nielson.
Five workshops were held; local children took inspiration from the landscape, buildings and Centre Point Tower. The stairs of this tower and throughout Woolloomooloo held significance for the community and is a visual theme inspired metaphorically woven into the curtain.
The Juanita Neilson Public Art Curtain project began with research into Woolloomooloo: historical events, the life of Juanita Nielsen and the inhabitants of the area. This research revealed to me a vibrant place rich in stories, events and imagery.
In addition to my research several community workshops were held with a range of community groups. The workshops allowed me to draw alongside local residents to create several large collaborative drawings on long scrolls of paper.
Workshops participants included a group of residents from the Reg Murphy Community Centre, children from Plunkett St Primary School and other members of the diverse Woolloomooloo community. Imagery, stories, text and research gleaned from these workshops directly informed imagery depicted in the curtain.
While painting the curtain I pinned up the workshop scrolls and historical photographs on the wall of my studio and translated what I saw onto the curtain fabric using fabric dyes, pens and inks. Imagery includes portraits of Juanita Nielsen, her house in Victoria St, The Finger Wharf, the Greenban protests, archways, steps, navy ships and the flyover.
I would like to thank the City of Sydney, Dominik Mersch Gallery, Creative Road Art Projects and of course all the residents of Woolloomooloo for helping to making the project happen. I hope people will enjoy the artwork for years to come.